First night of Hanukkah begins - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

First night of Hanukkah begins

December 19, 2003
Albany- As the first candle flickers to life, Hanukkah begins at Temple B'nai Israel.

And at the center of that celebration is a well-known symbol.

"There was just enough oil in the temple to burn one day, and it burned for eight days, so we have the miracle," said Rabbi Dana Kaplan.

The celebration of that miracle doesn't always have to be with a traditional menorah.

"People collect menorahs nowadays," said Charlet Kaplan. "It's become quite the in thing to do."

There are all kinds. And Kaplan has many of them at the Temple's Judaica store. There are menorahs that remember old Jewish traditions or ones that show off special symbols.

"All this is hand lasered," she said, displaying a menorah from Israel. "The bottom part is Jerusalem stone."

"It's only in the last 10 or 15 years that you've had menorah manufacturers making such an incredible variety of menorahs," Kaplan said.

If a classic look is not your style, then there are menorahs with a little more flare. There's even menorah's that come with their own dreidel.

Kaplan can find any style to celebrate the miracle.

"But behind the miracle is the whole idea of fighting for religious freedom," Kaplan said. "I think that's a message that has ramifications for Americans today and for people throughout the world."

So regardless of the look, it's the light that's important.

posted at 9:45 p.m. by brannon.stewart@walb.com